When you need a software platform that lets you communicate more effectively and engage more directly with your clients, Discourse's combination of forum and email list management systems provides the tools you demand.
- Flat structured forum platform with infinite scrolling
- Integrated log-ins for social media and seamless support for CRM platforms
- Support for badges, emoji, and other common social elements
- Ease of use features much higher out of the box than other BB platforms
- Open source structure allows for immense flexibility
- Simple to set up
- Can only be used with a virtual private server
- Hosting services can be expensive
When Discourse first appeared on the market in 2013, it signified a pretty major move away from the patterns that had previously dominated the design philosophy of the message board development market. The most popular platforms like phpBB and Simple Machines, and Discourse pulled plenty from the standards those bulletin boards had set. It uses a flat rather than threaded structure, a seeming necessity when trying to engage with customers directly, but a divergence from the trend in popular engagement platforms like Reddit and Digg. Where Discourse has managed to so effectively distinguish itself from the competition is with its tight integration of features popularized in social media software, essentially modernizing the forum format for the modern day without tearing down the fundamentals that made these platforms strong in the first place. The first thing you'll notice about Discourse is how easy it is to install and configure. Whether you're looking to set up a fan blog for your favorite passion or create a means for your customers to engage with one another and get in touch with your customer service departments, you can have something nice looking up and running in no time. Like most forum software, the design fundamentals of Discourse are strong, so customizing it to suit the personality you want your forum to convey can be accomplished with just a little HTML and CSS understanding. Unlike many of its contemporary forum platforms, Discourse is built from Ruby on Rails rather than from PHP. But it's those social media features that really lets Discourse shine. Fundamentally, the Discourse user interface doesn't look that different from its competitors. Your interface can be broken down into any number of forums and sub forums to more neatly categorize your content and guide your customers where you want them to be, but a number of quality of life options make it easier to browse altogether, especially on mobile devices. Infinite scrolling means your customers can spend less time clicking through pages and pages of content. There are also a number of smart functions that make it easier for customers to engage with conversations. The popularity of a conversation in the forum can be denoted with threads, while smart notifications inform you whenever anyone mentions your name or responds to you post. That's a great choice for customer service reps who want to stay on top of the needs of their users, and it's effectively combined with very smart and robust search options. Sharing options are embedded directly into any conversation, and users will receive notifications whenever anyone responds to their post or mentions their name. Discourse is an open source platform, meaning that you can customize it to your heart's delight or pull from a number of user generated extensions. There is also native integration wit a number of popular platforms like slack, ZenDesk, and Patreon.